Crisp, witty and biting with its language, DC Jackson’s adaptation of Beaumarchais updates Figaro to the banking sector in contemporary Edinburgh. Mark Thomson’s slick direction ensures that all the potential levels of comedy in the original are present, with the added bonus of a sidelong poke at the Scottish political establishment.
Mark Prendergast (Figaro) and Nicola Roy (Suzanne) in The Marriage of Figaro at The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh (previous picture shows Briony McRoberts as the Chair) Photo: Alan McCredie
Jackson puts Figaro (Mark Prendergast) and Suzanne (Nicola Roy) as young entrepreneurs, about to celebrate their nuptials and merge their company with Scotland’s largest financial institution. Their new office will be between the chief’s (Stuart Bowman) and his wife, the chair’s (Briony McRoberts).
Prendergast and Roy make Jackson’s alliterative lines and mockingly formal structure zip along. Prendergast adding to a truly stunning performance by singing excerpts from the Mozart opera during the scene changes. Bowman is vile and loud in all the right places, a true Machiavellian, while McRoberts has a spiky frailty quite in keeping - although her voice doesn’t quite suit the cadences of her lines.
Providing the meat on these strong bones, Molly Innes is vulgar and lusty towards Figaro as the chief’s PA, Margery and Jamie Quinn exudes hormonal excess as young Polish trader, Pavlo, who yearns after the Chair. Greg Powrie is perfect as the accountant Barry - yearning, obsequious and obsessive with a stunning physical performance.
At times the plot seems slightly stretched - you wonder at the Chief’s capitulation at the end. But that is more to do with the success of the piece as a modern play in its own right, subverted only slightly by a happy finale.